The National’s third album "Alligator" is a testament to the writing abilities of Matt Berninger and co., who take listeners by the hand and drag them through a crowd of deep-rooted human emotions that so often plague our minds, leaving us, instead of frustrated and helpless, content and strangely hopeful in the world-weariness that sometimes overcomes us all.
Moving around delicate finger-picked melody lines to loud emotional roller-coasters, it seems incredible that Berninger’s distinctive vocals can have such a diverse range of forms, all weaving an irremovable sense of sincerity between the songs, and subsequently into the album as a whole. It seems like there’s a story hidden behind every song, and as intriguing as it is to know the origins of these tales, it’s just as satisfying to listen to them with your own life in mind, as self-indulgent as that may seem.
It might seem dark or gloomy to some, but the song-writing is incomparable to any other modern band I know. Songs gradually build up to dizzying levels, sometimes merely to diminish back again, and without relying on traditional rhyming conventions, a musical picture is painted. These pictures can be melancholic, angry, subtle, explosive, regretful, pensive, and observant, among other things, and if this record is given more than a moment, it will grab you and show you it all, before gently letting you back down to react in your own way. What more could you ask for?